16 Day Southern India, A Spiritual Culture

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$1649

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$2799*

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*Not Included:
Optional tours and gratuities.


Additional Information:
Land only prices do not include arrival/departure transfers.


Entry Requirements:
Passengers traveling abroad require a passport valid for six months beyond their travel dates. All travelers are responsible to check if a visa is required for all countries on their itinerary. For visa information, check our Visas page.



Is This Trip Right for You?

This is an active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend three to four hours on our feet during tours and four to seven hours driving between cities. Some of our tours require walking over uneven surfaces or up and down steep slopes. We have many early mornings. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking. Air pollution is a problem in many of India's major cities. Please see the CDC website and/or consult with your healthcare provider for specific recommendations. The use of a bandana or light scarf may help screen out some of the pollutants in the air. A variety of airfare options are available for this program, including some low-cost fares which may exclude complimentary checked luggage and advance seat assignments. Please read each offering to ensure you choose the option that best fits your wishes. During this tour, you may come into proximity of wild animals whose actions can be unpredictable. Certain inherent risks are involved which should be considered at your own discretion. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

Accommodation Details




Room 1


  • Requests are not guaranteed and are subject to each hotel's discretion and availability

Additional Nights

Flight Details




Package Includes

  • Small groups of maximum 22 travelers guaranteed
  • Flights New York-Chennai, Kochi-New York
    Other departure cities available. Please click on date of departure for selection and prices
  • Airline taxes & fuel surcharges
  • 14 nights accommodations
    • 2 nights Chennai
    • 2 nights Mahabalipuram
    • 1 night Pondicherry
    • 2 nights Thanjavur
    • 2 nights Madurai
    • 2 nights Periyar National Park
    • 3 nights Kochi
  • Hotel taxes, fees & service charges
  • Hotel porterage
  • All transfers included only with airfare purchase on package arrival & departure dates†
  • 30 meals: 14 breakfasts, 9 lunches, 7 dinners with wine♦
  • Sightseeing per itinerary in modern air-conditioned vehicles
  • Services of English-speaking tour manager throughout
  • Comprehensive, guided sightseeing and entrance fees per itinerary
  • Comfortable wireless earphones for enhanced touring
  • Active itinerary with unique cultural features

♦Due to regional laws, hotels and restaurants will not serve alcoholic beverages on the first day of the month and certain holidays. On these days, no wine or beer will be included with dinner

Tour Highlights

Thanks to our small group size, we can get to the heart of our destination, visit places that other tours miss, and get to know the locals.

  • Visit the UNESCO site of Mahabalipuram, an ancient archaeological wonder rising on a rocky outcrop
  • In Kanchipuram, "City of a Thousand Temples," tour the Ekambareswarar and Kailasanathar Temples
  • Exclusive visit to a traditional silk weaving factory - meet with artists and learn how to drape and wear a sari
  • Journey to enchanting Pondicherry, a former French settlement that retains its carefree French atmosphere
  • At serene Auroville, visit the Meditation Center inspired by the teachings of the Indian yogi Sri Aurobindo
  • Witness pilgrims immersing themselves in a ritual bath at Amma Mandapam on the banks of the river
  • Tour the spectacular Maratha Palace with its priceless collections of Chola bronzes and stone carvings
  • View the impressive UNESCO listed Lord Brihadeeswarar Temple, a magnificent architectural achievement
  • In vibrant Madurai on the banks of the Vaigai River, view the 1000-year old Meenakshi Temple
  • Visit the Gandhi Museum dedicated to this remarkable man lovingly called the "Father of the Nation"
  • Spend two nights at Periyar National Park, the best-known sanctuary in South India, home to Bengal tigers
  • Attend a colorful Kathakali Dance performance that combines storytelling with music and physical strength
  • Visit the Paradesi Synagogue in Kochi the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India
  • Specially arranged cooking class in Kochi reveals some of the secrets of Indian cuisine
  • In Alleppey, board a houseboat that cruises along the intricate network of canals, lakes, lagoons and rivers

Is This Trip Right for You?

This is an active trip. Our small group covers a lot of ground each day, and we spend three to four hours on our feet during tours and four to seven hours driving between cities. Some of our tours require walking over uneven surfaces or up and down steep slopes. We have many early mornings. This tour is not recommended for people who have difficulty walking. Air pollution is a problem in many of India's major cities. Please see the CDC website and/or consult with your healthcare provider for specific recommendations. The use of a bandana or light scarf may help screen out some of the pollutants in the air. A variety of airfare options are available for this program, including some low-cost fares which may exclude complimentary checked luggage and advance seat assignments. Please read each offering to ensure you choose the option that best fits your wishes. During this tour, you may come into proximity of wild animals whose actions can be unpredictable. Certain inherent risks are involved which should be considered at your own discretion. This is a Small Group program. For more information, click here.

Watch our video!
Note: your itinerary will change depending upon the day of the week you depart. Click a day above to see what is included.

DAY 1, Monday - Depart for India
Depart for India

DAY 2, Tuesday - Arrive in Chennai
Welcome to India! Arrive in cosmopolitan Chennai on the Bay of Bengal, gateway to South India; transfer to the hotel. Time to rest, relax and acclimate to your new time zone or venture out to get acquainted with some of the city's extraordinary sights and the lively shops selling vibrant handmade silk sarees
Overnight: Chennai

DAY 3, Wednesday - Government Museum, St. Basilica Church, Marina Beach
This morning, begin your exploration of the city at the Government Museum, with its fascinating exhibits about ancient Chennai. After lunch, a scenic drive along the coast takes you to Marina Beach, a surprising combination of colonial buildings, churches, and monuments accented by the natural beauty of endless skies and sea. Afterward, visit St. Basilica Church built in the 16th by Portuguese explorers over the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle. The Basilica is one of the holiest Christian sites in India and one of the world's only surviving Apostolic burial sites. Continue to the beautiful Kapaleeshwarar Temple. Walk around this centuries-old temple and admire the elaborately decorated gopuram, a fine display of Dravidian architecture before returning to the hotel. This evening, join your Tour Manager and fellow travelers at an orientation meeting on the exciting discovery of South India that lies ahead, followed by dinner at the hotel
Overnight: Chennai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4, Thursday - Kanchipuram, “City of a Thousand Temples”, Silk Weaving Artisans
This morning, travel to Kanchipuram, the "City of a Thousand Temples," one of Hinduism’s most sacred cities. Here, you tour the historically important Ekambareswarar Temple with its 540 pillars. Then, visit the stunning Kailasanathar Temple with its elaborate carvings before having lunch. Kanchipuram, world-famous for its hand-woven silk sarees, is the center of silk production and design in India for over four centuries. As you walk along the lanes of the city, view colorful displays of sarees waving in the breeze, woven on hand looms by artisans throughout the city out of dazzling bright silks, embellished with golden threads. On your exclusive visit to a traditional silk weaving factory, meet with some of the artists and learn how to drape and wear a sari. Afterward, on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, an ancient archaeological wonder rising on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Bay of Bengal. Once a major seaport, these magnificent temples, and carvings are remarkable examples of exquisite architecture, illustrating tales from mythology and highlighting the development of the Dravidian temple style. Spend your evening at leisure.
Overnight: Mahabalipuram
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5, Friday - Mahabalipuram’s Temples
Early this morning if you wish, join a yoga session. After breakfast, embark on a guided tour. Admire the Shore Temple standing by the sea for over 12 centuries, with an impressive bas-relief and imposing twin towers. At the southern end of the site, see the Five Rathas carved from large boulders and Arjuna’s Penance, a massive bas-relief that magnificently depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalayas coupled with scenes from Indian daily life. This temple complex is considered the finest early example of medieval southern Indian architecture. This afternoon, relax on the lovely beaches this coastal city has to offer before dinner tonight at the hotel
Overnight: Mahabalipuram
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6, Saturday - Pondicherry's French Quarter, Auroville Meditation Center, Paper Factory
Your journey along the coast takes you to enchanting Pondicherry, a former French colonial settlement that still retains its carefree French atmosphere and architectural legacy. In the charming Old Quarter, with its tree-lined cobbled streets, colonial villas are draped with fragrant bougainvillea, and sidewalk cafes abound. Even the policemen are dressed in traditional French red hats and belts! Lunch is followed by a visit to serene Auroville, City of Dawn famous for the meditation center inspired by the teachings of the Indian yogi Sri Aurobindo. Many spiritually minded visitors come here and stay to nurture his vision of human unity. Next, view the golden-domed Mother Temple. Later, tour a factory where delicate individually handcrafted papers are produced followed by a visit to Aurobindo Ashram. Take a rickshaw ride around the French, Hindu and Muslim quarters of Pondicherry.
Overnight: Pondicherry
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7, Sunday - Chidambaram Temples, Thanjavur, Maratha Palace
Depart Pondicherry for Chidambaram, home to the massive temple complex of Nataraja, one of the holiest of all Shiva sites, a spectacular architectural marvel spread over 50 acres in the heart of the city. After time to relax over lunch, travel to Thanjavur (Tanjore) once a thriving capital of the celebrated Chola Empire, known as the "rice bowl" of the Tamil Nadu region. On arrival, visit the spectacular Maratha Palace, within a maze-like complex; walk through the open courtyard Art Gallery displaying priceless collections of superb Chola bronzes and stone carvings and visit the Saraswathi Mahal Library. The remainder of the day is at leisure in Thanjavur
Overnight: Thanjavur
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8, Monday - Brihadeeswarar Temple, Amma Mandapam, Ranganathaswamy Temple
Begin the day with a visit to the grand Lord Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where thousands of people worship daily. Built by King Raja Raja Cholan over a thousand years ago, this impressive temple is one of South India’s most magnificent architectural accomplishments. Continue with a drive to Trichy. Here, visit Amma Mandapam, a religious bathing ghat on the banks of the Kaveri River. Witness pilgrims immersing themselves in a ritual bath before proceeding to worship at the sacred Ranganathaswamy Temple. Stop at this famous temple, one of the most illustrious in the country, nestled in an ethereal setting on the island of Srirangam. Following lunch, return to Thanjavur. Tonight, enjoy dinner with your group at a local restaurant
Overnight: Thanjavur
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9, Tuesday - Chettinad’s Palaces, Ghandi Museum
Your travels take you to Chettinad, land of the Chettiars, a community that dates back to the Chola period making its fortunes as money lenders, merchants and jewelry dealers. Here, see lavish palaces and mansions that reflect the opulence of a bygone era. Also known for its food and Master Chefs, delight in a distinctive traditional lunch of local favorites. Next, you reach the vibrant city of Madurai on the banks of the Vaigai River, a center of learning and pilgrimage for many centuries. A visit to the Gandhi Museum follows with an opportunity to learn about this remarkable man lovingly called the "Father of the Nation" instrumental in India’s fight for independence. Before dinner, visit a local dance school practicing Bharatnatyam. Meet with students to learn more about the dance and attend a performance.
Overnight: Madurai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10, Wednesday - Madurai's Temples, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, Madurai’s Bazaars
Don’t miss this morning's optional Vanakkam (means welcome in Tamil language) private interactive walking tour of Madurai! At the first light of dawn, walk the quiet streets as the city awakens. Observe first-hand how everyday life begins in this Indian city from prayer rituals at the temple to market shopping -- truly a total immersion into the culture. Return for breakfast, followed by a visit with the group to the ancient Meenakshi Amman Temple, an enormous Nayak complex built between 1623 and 1655, as a majestic testament to their ruler. Later, head to the massive Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace with its imposing courtyard, grand throne chambers and entry flanked by stone carved horses before returning to the hotel for lunch. In the evening, shop at the bargain-filled bazaars bursting with treasures and jewelry shops galore.
Optional: Vanakkam Madurai Tour (AM)
Overnight: Madurai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11, Thursday - Periyar National Park, Spice Plantation
Today, drive to Periyar National Park perched high in the Cardamom Hills, the best-known wildlife sanctuary in South India, home to elephants, antelope, deer and many species of birdlife. Its variety of flora and fauna, pristine lakes and magnificent forests will surely make this visit most memorable. After time to relax and settle in at the hotel, stroll leisurely through one of the area’s spice plantations. You’ll hear about the many different ways to use these spices in both medicines and in the preparation of food. In the evening, join the optional Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner. Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest fighting styles in the world, is believed to have been adapted from various martial art forms like karate, kung-fu, and judo
Optional: Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner
Overnight: Periyar National Park
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 12, Friday - Periyar National Park
Thrilling activities await you today at the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Begin the day with a nature walk inside the National Park. Pass through evergreen and deciduous forests accompanied by your local guide, who informs you about the local flora. A highlight of the day is a scenic Jeep ride to Ottakathalamedu, 1300 meters above sea level, for panoramic views of Thekkady. Afterward, a boat ride on the picturesque lake. At the end of this exciting day, perhaps treat yourself to a rejuvenating and soothing Ayurveda massage. Tonight, gather for dinner together at the hotel
Overnight: Periyar National Park
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 13, Saturday - Alleppey Back Waters, Houseboat Cruise, Kochi
The drive to Alleppey reveals this tranquil backwater region of Kerala. Boarding a houseboat, you cruise along this very intricate network of canals, lakes, lagoons and rivers called the "Venice of the East." Observe Kerala’s rural lifestyle as you glide past tiny villages sprinkled with rice fields and witness a way of life that has changed little through the ages. With women washing clothes on the river banks while children play in the shallows, kingfishers dart among the palm trees and the fishermen stand with water up to their necks, seeking out fish with their feet. Savor a specially prepared lunch of Keralan cuisine cooked on board just for you. Arrive in Kochi, a principle port and center of the Malabar Coast spice trade since the 14th century. Known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea," it was here that the first European settlement in India was established by Vasco da Gama. Subsequently, the city was ruled alternatively by the Dutch and the British until its independence
Overnight: Kochi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14, Sunday - Home Hosted Cooking Class, Kathakali Dance Performance
Today you’re treated to a specially arranged cooking class at a private home in Kochi. Join your hosts in the preparation of lunch while learning some of the secrets of Indian cuisine. Afterward, view 16th century St. Francis Church, before proceeding to the Santa Cruz Cathedral with its pastel-colored interior and impressive murals. Head to the harbor where local fishermen continue to use cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, distinctively unique to Kochi, living symbols of a centuries-old Chinese influence on this coast dating back to the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. Spend the rest of the day on your own in Kochi. Time to relax before tonight’s colorful Kathakali dance performance, Kerala's popular classical and emotional form of dance, drama and music that combines storytelling with music and rigorous physical training. Following the performance, enjoy dinner at the hotel restaurant
Overnight: Kochi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15, Monday - Mattancherry Dutch Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, Farewell Dinner
This morning depart on a tour of the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and later renovated by the Dutch in the 17th century. Then, continue to the heart of the Old Quarter. Here, visit the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India. Magnificently decorated with hand-painted Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers, the synagogue has preserved four important scrolls of the Old Testament. Back at the hotel, time to freshen up before tonight's festivities. Embark on a cruise on the lagoons before a very special Farewell Dinner - a perfect conclusion to your wonderful journey through South India. Bid farewell to your Tour Manager and fellow travelers
Overnight: Kochi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16, Tuesday - Depart India
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 1, Thursday - Depart for India
Depart for India

DAY 2, Friday - Arrive in Chennai
Welcome to India! Arrive in cosmopolitan Chennai on the Bay of Bengal, gateway to South India; transfer to the hotel. Time to rest, relax and acclimate to your new time zone or venture out to get acquainted with some of the city's extraordinary sights and the lively shops selling vibrant handmade silk sarees
Overnight: Chennai

DAY 3, Saturday - Government Museum, St. Basilica Church, Marina Beach
This morning, begin your exploration of the city at the Government Museum, with its fascinating exhibits about ancient Chennai. After lunch, a scenic drive along the coast takes you to Marina Beach, a surprising combination of colonial buildings, churches, and monuments accented by the natural beauty of endless skies and sea. Afterward, visit St. Basilica Church built in the 16th by Portuguese explorers over the tomb of St. Thomas the Apostle. The Basilica is one of the holiest Christian sites in India and one of the world's only surviving Apostolic burial sites. Continue to the beautiful Kapaleeshwarar Temple. Walk around this centuries-old temple and admire the elaborately decorated gopuram, a fine display of Dravidian architecture before returning to the hotel. This evening, join your Tour Manager and fellow travelers at an orientation meeting on the exciting discovery of South India that lies ahead, followed by dinner at the hotel
Overnight: Chennai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4, Sunday - Kanchipuram, “City of a Thousand Temples”, Silk Weaving Artisans
This morning, travel to Kanchipuram, the "City of a Thousand Temples," one of Hinduism’s most sacred cities. Here, you tour the historically important Ekambareswarar Temple with its 540 pillars. Then, visit the stunning Kailasanathar Temple with its elaborate carvings before having lunch. Kanchipuram, world-famous for its hand-woven silk sarees, is the center of silk production and design in India for over four centuries. As you walk along the lanes of the city, view colorful displays of sarees waving in the breeze, woven on hand looms by artisans throughout the city out of dazzling bright silks, embellished with golden threads. On your exclusive visit to a traditional silk weaving factory, meet with some of the artists and learn how to drape and wear a sari. Afterward, on to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mahabalipuram, an ancient archaeological wonder rising on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Bay of Bengal. Once a major seaport, these magnificent temples, and carvings are remarkable examples of exquisite architecture, illustrating tales from mythology and highlighting the development of the Dravidian temple style. Spend your evening at leisure.
Overnight: Mahabalipuram
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 5, Monday - Mahabalipuram’s Temples
Early this morning if you wish, join a yoga session. After breakfast, embark on a guided tour. Admire the Shore Temple standing by the sea for over 12 centuries, with an impressive bas-relief and imposing twin towers. At the southern end of the site, see the Five Rathas carved from large boulders and Arjuna’s Penance, a massive bas-relief that magnificently depicts the flow of the Ganges down from the Himalayas coupled with scenes from Indian daily life. This temple complex is considered the finest early example of medieval southern Indian architecture. This afternoon, relax on the lovely beaches this coastal city has to offer before dinner tonight at the hotel
Overnight: Mahabalipuram
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 6, Tuesday - Pondicherry's French Quarter, Auroville Meditation Center, Paper Factory
Your journey along the coast takes you to enchanting Pondicherry, a former French colonial settlement that still retains its carefree French atmosphere and architectural legacy. In the charming Old Quarter, with its tree-lined cobbled streets, colonial villas are draped with fragrant bougainvillea, and sidewalk cafes abound. Even the policemen are dressed in traditional French red hats and belts! Lunch is followed by a visit to serene Auroville, City of Dawn famous for the meditation center inspired by the teachings of the Indian yogi Sri Aurobindo. Many spiritually minded visitors come here and stay to nurture his vision of human unity. Next, view the golden-domed Mother Temple. Later, tour a factory where delicate individually handcrafted papers are produced followed by a visit to Aurobindo Ashram. Take a rickshaw ride around the French, Hindu and Muslim quarters of Pondicherry.
Overnight: Pondicherry
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 7, Wednesday - Chidambaram Temples, Thanjavur, Maratha Palace
Depart Pondicherry for Chidambaram, home to the massive temple complex of Nataraja, one of the holiest of all Shiva sites, a spectacular architectural marvel spread over 50 acres in the heart of the city. After time to relax over lunch, travel to Thanjavur (Tanjore) once a thriving capital of the celebrated Chola Empire, known as the "rice bowl" of the Tamil Nadu region. On arrival, visit the spectacular Maratha Palace, within a maze-like complex; walk through the open courtyard Art Gallery displaying priceless collections of superb Chola bronzes and stone carvings and visit the Saraswathi Mahal Library. The remainder of the day is at leisure in Thanjavur
Overnight: Thanjavur
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 8, Thursday - Brihadeeswarar Temple, Amma Mandapam, Ranganathaswamy Temple
Begin the day with a visit to the grand Lord Brihadeeswarar Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where thousands of people worship daily. Built by King Raja Raja Cholan over a thousand years ago, this impressive temple is one of South India’s most magnificent architectural accomplishments. Continue with a drive to Trichy. Here, visit Amma Mandapam, a religious bathing ghat on the banks of the Kaveri River. Witness pilgrims immersing themselves in a ritual bath before proceeding to worship at the sacred Ranganathaswamy Temple. Stop at this famous temple, one of the most illustrious in the country, nestled in an ethereal setting on the island of Srirangam. Following lunch, return to Thanjavur. Tonight, enjoy dinner with your group at a local restaurant
Overnight: Thanjavur
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9, Friday - Chettinad’s Palaces, Ghandi Museum
Your travels take you to Chettinad, land of the Chettiars, a community that dates back to the Chola period making its fortunes as money lenders, merchants and jewelry dealers. Here, see lavish palaces and mansions that reflect the opulence of a bygone era. Also known for its food and Master Chefs, delight in a distinctive traditional lunch of local favorites. Next, you reach the vibrant city of Madurai on the banks of the Vaigai River, a center of learning and pilgrimage for many centuries. A visit to the Gandhi Museum follows with an opportunity to learn about this remarkable man lovingly called the "Father of the Nation" instrumental in India’s fight for independence. Before dinner, visit a local dance school practicing Bharatnatyam. Meet with students to learn more about the dance and attend a performance.
Overnight: Madurai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10, Saturday - Madurai's Temples, Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace, Madurai’s Bazaars
Don’t miss this morning's optional Vanakkam (means welcome in Tamil language) private interactive walking tour of Madurai! At the first light of dawn, walk the quiet streets as the city awakens. Observe first-hand how everyday life begins in this Indian city from prayer rituals at the temple to market shopping -- truly a total immersion into the culture. Return for breakfast, followed by a visit with the group to the ancient Meenakshi Amman Temple, an enormous Nayak complex built between 1623 and 1655, as a majestic testament to their ruler. Later, head to the massive Thirumalai Nayakkar Palace with its imposing courtyard, grand throne chambers and entry flanked by stone carved horses before returning to the hotel for lunch. In the evening, shop at the bargain-filled bazaars bursting with treasures and jewelry shops galore.
Optional: Vanakkam Madurai Tour (AM)
Overnight: Madurai
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 11, Sunday - Periyar National Park, Spice Plantation
Today, drive to Periyar National Park perched high in the Cardamom Hills, the best-known wildlife sanctuary in South India, home to elephants, antelope, deer and many species of birdlife. Its variety of flora and fauna, pristine lakes and magnificent forests will surely make this visit most memorable. After time to relax and settle in at the hotel, stroll leisurely through one of the area’s spice plantations. You’ll hear about the many different ways to use these spices in both medicines and in the preparation of food. In the evening, join the optional Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner. Kalaripayattu, one of the oldest fighting styles in the world, is believed to have been adapted from various martial art forms like karate, kung-fu, and judo
Optional: Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner
Overnight: Periyar National Park
Meals: Breakfast

DAY 12, Monday - Periyar National Park
Thrilling activities await you today at the acclaimed Periyar Wildlife Sanctuary. Begin the day with a nature walk inside the National Park. Pass through evergreen and deciduous forests accompanied by your local guide, who informs you about the local flora. A highlight of the day is a scenic Jeep ride to Ottakathalamedu, 1300 meters above sea level, for panoramic views of Thekkady. Afterward, a boat ride on the picturesque lake. At the end of this exciting day, perhaps treat yourself to a rejuvenating and soothing Ayurveda massage. Tonight, gather for dinner together at the hotel
Overnight: Periyar National Park
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 13, Tuesday - Alleppey Back Waters, Houseboat Cruise, Kochi
The drive to Alleppey reveals this tranquil backwater region of Kerala. Boarding a houseboat, you cruise along this very intricate network of canals, lakes, lagoons and rivers called the "Venice of the East." Observe Kerala’s rural lifestyle as you glide past tiny villages sprinkled with rice fields and witness a way of life that has changed little through the ages. With women washing clothes on the river banks while children play in the shallows, kingfishers dart among the palm trees and the fishermen stand with water up to their necks, seeking out fish with their feet. Savor a specially prepared lunch of Keralan cuisine cooked on board just for you. Arrive in Kochi, a principle port and center of the Malabar Coast spice trade since the 14th century. Known as the "Queen of the Arabian Sea," it was here that the first European settlement in India was established by Vasco da Gama. Subsequently, the city was ruled alternatively by the Dutch and the British until its independence
Overnight: Kochi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14, Wednesday - Home Hosted Cooking Class, Kathakali Dance Performance
Today you’re treated to a specially arranged cooking class at a private home in Kochi. Join your hosts in the preparation of lunch while learning some of the secrets of Indian cuisine. Afterward, view 16th century St. Francis Church, before proceeding to the Santa Cruz Cathedral with its pastel-colored interior and impressive murals. Head to the harbor where local fishermen continue to use cantilevered Chinese fishing nets, distinctively unique to Kochi, living symbols of a centuries-old Chinese influence on this coast dating back to the court of the Chinese ruler Kublai Khan. Spend the rest of the day on your own in Kochi. Time to relax before tonight’s colorful Kathakali dance performance, Kerala's popular classical and emotional form of dance, drama and music that combines storytelling with music and rigorous physical training. Following the performance, enjoy dinner at the hotel restaurant
Overnight: Kochi
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 15, Thursday - Mattancherry Dutch Palace, Paradesi Synagogue, Farewell Dinner
This morning depart on a tour of the Mattancherry Dutch Palace, built by the Portuguese and later renovated by the Dutch in the 17th century. Then, continue to the heart of the Old Quarter. Here, visit the Paradesi Synagogue, the oldest existing Jewish synagogue in India. Magnificently decorated with hand-painted Chinese tiles and Belgian chandeliers, the synagogue has preserved four important scrolls of the Old Testament. Back at the hotel, time to freshen up before tonight's festivities. Embark on a cruise on the lagoons before a very special Farewell Dinner - a perfect conclusion to your wonderful journey through South India. Bid farewell to your Tour Manager and fellow travelers
Overnight: Kochi
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

DAY 16, Friday - Depart India
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight
Meals: Breakfast

Book Now!
Discovery Tours itineraries may contain suggestions for activities for your leisure time; these suggestions do not constitute a recommendation nor an endorsement of any specific service provider and the decision to participate in any such activities should be made independently.
Book your Optional Tours before you travel. See more, save time, save money.
  • Tours purchased while travelling may cost an extra 10% or more
  • Tours often sell out. Avoid disappointment
  • Save your cash. Credit card processing may not be possible locally
  • Travel insurance only covers services purchased prior to departure
  • Book Online or call to book these tours up to 1 week before your departure
  • The day the optionals operate varies by the day of the week
Vanakkam Madurai Tour

Take an early morning walk through the narrow alleys of Madurai, the oldest city in South India, to get an up-close glimpse of everyday life. Discovering the morning rituals and daily activities in this ancient temple town is a fascinating and memorable experience. Witness people milking cows, cooking, and women cleaning and decorating their doorsteps with beautifully detailed Kolams (drawings) to welcome guests. Visit the local markets as they open, drink your morning tea in the twenty-four hour tea shop and enjoy sampling local snacks, including a Vada (savory doughnut). For a unique perspective into the local economy, interact with street vendors, visit the fruit and flower markets, and see a roadside hair salon.

Approximate tour duration is 2 hours.

Day #10 01 Oct 2020 - 30 Sep 2022 $30.00
Vanakkam Madurai Tour Thumbnail
Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner

Tonight, treat yourself to a Kalaripayattu martial art show. The martial art form of Kerala, dating back to almost 2000 years, is regarded as the oldest of its kind in the world. It derives its name from two words, 'kalari' which means combat arena and 'payattu' which means practice. Following preparation with an oil massage, the performers will execute the art, using weapons such as bow and arrow, swords, spears, and maces. Afterwards for dinner, travel to Spice Village, set in 15 acres of spice gardens and resembling a traditional tribal community. At the restaurant, enjoy the timelessness of the place with its antique rosewood furniture and old-world atmosphere. Savor delicious South Indian cuisine flavored by local spices, prepared with fresh ingredients from the organic farm on site.

Approximate tour duration is 3 hours.

Day #11 01 Oct 2021 - 30 Sep 2022 $38.00
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Vanakkam Madurai Tour

Take an early morning walk through the narrow alleys of Madurai, the oldest city in South India, to get an up-close glimpse of everyday life. Discovering the morning rituals and daily activities in this ancient temple town is a fascinating and memorable experience. Witness people milking cows, cooking, and women cleaning and decorating their doorsteps with beautifully detailed Kolams (drawings) to welcome guests. Visit the local markets as they open, drink your morning tea in the twenty-four hour tea shop and enjoy sampling local snacks, including a Vada (savory doughnut). For a unique perspective into the local economy, interact with street vendors, visit the fruit and flower markets, and see a roadside hair salon.

Approximate tour duration is 2 hours.

Day #10 01 Oct 2020 - 30 Sep 2022 $30.00
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Kalaripayattu Martial Art Show with dinner

Tonight, treat yourself to a Kalaripayattu martial art show. The martial art form of Kerala, dating back to almost 2000 years, is regarded as the oldest of its kind in the world. It derives its name from two words, 'kalari' which means combat arena and 'payattu' which means practice. Following preparation with an oil massage, the performers will execute the art, using weapons such as bow and arrow, swords, spears, and maces. Afterwards for dinner, travel to Spice Village, set in 15 acres of spice gardens and resembling a traditional tribal community. At the restaurant, enjoy the timelessness of the place with its antique rosewood furniture and old-world atmosphere. Savor delicious South Indian cuisine flavored by local spices, prepared with fresh ingredients from the organic farm on site.

Approximate tour duration is 3 hours.

Day #11 01 Oct 2020 - 30 Sep 2021 $38.00
01 Oct 2021 - 30 Sep 2022 $38.00
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Spiritual Southern India, January 2020
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The trip was fabulous. Went off without a hitch. I’ve been on several Gate 1 tours and I’d rate Raj as the best guide I’ve encountered. His energy, enthusiasm and flexibility made the trip a pleasure.

Kathleen M. Hopkinton, NH
Spiritual Southern India, January 2020
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The trip was great! The guide was very professional and the driver and assistant were all very helpful. India is amazing. Thanks to Gate 1 !

Hsiao-Ju C. Dural, Australia
Spiritual Southern India, January 2020
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My trip was wonderful! Jay was a great tour leader and gave such breath and scope to the experience. India is an incredible country to explore and the Small Group Spiritual Tour of Southern India was a perfect introduction to this vast and complex country. I don’t think my senses have ever been so stimulated. I look forward to booking another tour to explore the northern part of the country and Nepal.

Myra A. Newton, MA
Treasures of Sri Lanka, January 2020
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It was great! Sri Lanka and her people welcomed us with open arms. Our tour guide, Heshan, along with our driver, Susantha, and his assistant, Thilina, were all excellent. Well done!!!

Joanne J. Los Angeles, California
Spiritual Southern India, January 2020
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It was a great trip.. really enjoyed our group, our leader, Srini, and the sights and the Indian people. They were so friendly and always wanted to have their pictures taken with us. And they didn’t mind if we took pictures of them. The temples were unbelievable, and the stops we made along the way, on driving days, were great. Visited rubber farm, coconut fiber rope family business, batik making, spice garden, cashew roasting, paper making factory,... I could go on and on.. waiting for a good sale to book another trip in 2021..

Michele K. St. Charles, IL
Spiritual Southern India, November 2019
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Amazing....Radhika was an exceptional tour leader. Great accommodations and food throughout the trip. Good weather and well traveled people to make this a great experience.

Susie M. Phoenix, AZ
India, Nepal & Bhutan, Tradition & Majesty, October 2019
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The trip was great! Our expectations were exceeded! Our tour managers, Aparna in India, Neraj in Nepal, and Sangay in Bhutan were fabulous. All did an extraordinary job and are very well informed. This was our second trip with Gate 1. We would recommend Gate 1 to anyone!

Charles L. Fresno, CA
Incredible India & Nepal, October 2019
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Trip was great. Our guide Avash was also great. One of the best tour managers' we have ever had. Really made the trip amazing.

William H. Sheridan, WY
Spiritual Southern India, October 2019
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I had an amazing trip in India. Rajesh ( Raj ) the tour guide was exceptional, knowledgeable, and fun. He was very patient, and professional with the group. He made the tour interesting and enjoyable. Siva the bus driver was fantastic, we all felt very safe with him. Bala the assistant was so helpful, making sure all of our needs were met with a smile every day. The hotels were first rate, and the food was delicious. This was my first trip with Gate 1, and I could not have imagined a better experience. With warm regards from a happy, and satisfied traveler. Can’t wait for my next trip with Gate 1.

Raynell C. Dunedin, FL
Treasures of Sri Lanka, October 2019
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The trip was wonderful. Our tour manager Shyam was excellent. His caring, knowledge of the country and attention to detail enhanced a wonderful experience.

Betty G. Fair Lawn, NJ
Spiritual Southern India, September 2019
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It was great. I enjoyed it very much. I would recommend to anyone who is going to travel abroad for a two-week vacation. Our tourist guide was very knowledgeable and energetic. I dare to say one of the best among all the best guides in Gate 1 family.

Branda K. Edmonton, Alberta
Himalayan Kingdoms: Nepal & Bhutan, September 2019
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We had a great time, Bhutan was a wonderful experience. Our tour director, Leki, was well organized with regard our daily schedule of activities and seat rotation. It was an interesting and educational tour.

Susanna M. Alexandria, VA
Himalayan Kingdoms: Nepal & Bhutan, March 2019
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It was the best trip I ever took, only the Patagonia trip was comparable! Bhutan is such a special place and I have only superlatives to say about it, the whole world should see it! Gate 1 did a great job with the itinerary, the pace, the hotels; very smart how the hikes were placed in the program and how we had the time to acclimatize; the tour directors, both Anup and Sangay were awesome (which I have to say, is always the case with Gate 1). Looking forward to our next adventure with Discovery!

Anca T. Maplewood, MN
9 Day Golden Triangle of India, March 2019
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Seeing the Taj Mahal has been on my bucket list for years. My gate one tour manager Sandeep, made India come alive for me. He provided history of the area and many stories at each site we visited which made you feel more connected. He set the stage for our visit to the Taj Mahal with the moving story of its construction. Experiencing the Taj Mahal was magical and something I will never forget thanks to Sandeep. This trip was just a taste of India but made me want to see more of the country. Thank you Gate one and Sandeep for a magical week in India.

Patricia P. Hitchcock, TX
Spiritual Southern India, February 2019
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It was a great trip. Southern India was fantastic, with such a small, intimate group, great accommodations, and fabulous guide, all went brilliantly.

Cedric R. Fredericksburg, VA
Treasures of Sri Lanka, February 2019
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Terrific, as usual! We’re now in double digits with traveling with Gate 1! Shyam, our guide, was superb. He conveyed his love of country, gave a good explanation of each day’s activities, and made sure everyone in the group was satisfied. He’s a gem. Also, his helper, Rohan, was great, and the driver did a terrific job. We were very pleased with the hotel selections and the itinerary. We have 2 more tours scheduled with Gate 1 this year. Keep up the good work!

Ronald R. Chicago, IL
Spiritual Southern India, February 2019
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One of the best trips of my entire life! Thank you for everything Gate 1, a truly lovely experience.

Dan H. Chicago, IL
Treasures of Sri Lanka, February 2019
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Our trip was wonderful! We loved Sri Lanka. Our guide Shyam was the best. He handled everything, and made the trip very informative and fun. Gate 1 is a great company. We’ll be back!

Gail E. Sacramento, CA
Treasures of Sri Lanka, January 2019
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As usual, Gate 1 did not disappoint. Sri Lanka was fabulous... with an abundance of friendly people, fabulous landscape and micro climates. It was rich in history and spirituality (Budha and Hindu temples everywhere) make this island very interesting to discover. I would be interested in expanding my exploration into the Northern part of Sri Lanka sometime in the future. I need to find out where in the world I will travel to in 2020...

Tamara R. Citrus Heights, CA
Treasures of Sri Lanka, January 2019
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We had a great time in Sri Lanka! We enjoyed all the activities and learned a lot about the history and culture of the country. We look forward to our next Gate 1 trip in March.

Elizabeth H. Kingwood, TX
Treasures of Sri Lanka, November 2018
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It was a fantastic trip. Heshan our guide was knowledgeable and nice. Fantastic food and wonderful country.

Douwe D. Flagstaff Hill, Australia
Treasures of Sri Lanka, November 2018
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We had a very nice holiday in Sri Lanka. This was our first trip with Gate 1 and we are 100% satisfied with the superior standard of hotels you chose for us. The itinerary was varied and interesting, changing between nature and culture. Our guide, Heshan, was excellent, very helpful and very knowledgeable about the history, flora and fauna. The coach was always clean and fresh flowers were put on our seats daily. The couch driver and the assistant were excellent, and worked well as a team to get us safely through the chaotic traffic in Sri Lanka cities. Overall, very memorable and positive experience. We will definitely use your company in the future and recommend you to our friends.

Jessica L. Queensland, Australia
India, Nepal & Bhutan, Tradition & Majesty, November 2018
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We had a great trip. Everything went perfect. The guides were excellent. Some of the best we’ve experienced. Don’t let them get away. Transportation, hotels and food were all great!

Richard M. Bettendorf, IA
Spiritual Southern India, October 2018
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It was a great trip. Our guide was very knowledgeable about everything which was appreciated. The accommodations and food were fantastic. The sights were wonderful. A fantastic trip in every possible way!

David O. Florence, MA
Himalayan Kingdoms: Nepal & Bhutan, October 2018
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Simply wonderful. Nepal is bustling with activity, with smells, with life! Most enjoyable were the walkabouts through Bhaktapur, and Tharu village in Chitwan National Park which allowed us to chat with the locals and have a closeup look at the way they live. The dinner, home visits and the conversations about life in Nepal were priceless. Bhutan is more than amazing! It’s pristine environment and culturally rich history is fascinating. I loved the dress-up in traditional Bhutanese dres. The hike to Tiger’s Nest, is wonderfully rewarding ... At first sight, Tiger’s Nest was blanketed with clouds, but as the clouds lifted it was breathtaking and hastened our steps. Thanks to our guides Rajesh (Nepal), and Dawa (Bhutan) and our drivers who did a stellar job in ensuring everything went smoothly!

Joy T. Sandys, BM
Spiritual Southern India, September 2018
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I have traveled on small group tours quite often, but this surpassed all expectations. Our guide in India was outstanding and the group I traveled with have all said they would travel again with her. I will certainly be booking through Gate 1 again.

Robert G. Vermont South, Australia